“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
~ Albert Schweitzer
We all have experienced it once or twice or maybe even more often; you go to the store or a restaurant and the employee, who supposed to be kind and friendly, treats you like you’re an annoying person interrupting her at whatever she’s doing except working.
Well, it happened to me while I was at the cinema a few weeks back. Me and my daughter planned a day out as she had a day off from school. We left home cheerfully, looking forward to have some good time watching a movie and shopping. Once we arrived at the cinema and I ordered tickets at the ticket office, everything changed!
We arrived at the cinema just past noon. We wanted to catch an early show, so we could spend the afternoon shopping. The girl at the desk saw us coming in, but didn’t greet us. She didn’t even bothered to look at us. I just ordered my tickets, she printed them out and shoved it to me over the counter. She watched me swipe my card to pay and turned away. Not even a ” Goodbye!” or “Have a nice day!”. My daughter looked at me and shrugged. I couldn’t help to say something about it.
I felt quite offended at that moment. Maybe it was because I wanted so much for my daughter to have a good time. She just started at the secondary school and worked so hard the past few weeks to gain good results at school. I wanted to reward her and show her that I’m really proud of her. And besides, I just assumed the girl at the ticket office was just pissed to work and early shift.
So, I made a comment. I said that I find her very rude and that I don’t think her boss would appreciate her treating customers like that. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything….
The girl fell out at me. She told me to mind my own business and that she is very capable of doing her job. I should just go in and watch the movie. Wow! My daughter and I, our jaws dropped wide open. We looked at each other and we were speechless. My daughter dragged me away and told me to let it go. But the more I thought of it, the more I felt the need to talk to someone about it. I decided to talk to the manager. Of course my teenage daughter warned me not to make a scene of it. But she did agree with me that the girl was very rude.
I found the manager, told him what happened and he could tell that I was not amused about it. We walked back to the girl at the ticket office just to see her being rude to other customers too. The manager was quite shocked about it. He told us that she’s his best employee and normally she’s very kind and friendly. The manager went over to ask what’s happening. The girl saw us with the manager and tears started to roll over her cheeks. Oops… That was not what I expected.
I instantly felt sorry for the girl. This was not my intention. Suddenly, things seemed to get more worse. My daughter shot me an ugly look and whispered to me that she warned me not to make scene. TEENAGERS! *sigh* While the girl sobbed heavily, she tried to say something. We couldn’t make out what she was babbling. When she’s calmed down a bit, we finally understood what she tried to say. She explained to us that she just lost a close family member and that she’s very upset about it. And the emotions have clouded her mood to work.
All right, I did feel bad that I confronted her about her behaviour. I counted till ten and took a deep breath, then, when the girl was calmed down, I explained to her why I planned to file a complain against her. I told her that my daughter was excited about going a day out on a school day and that I was very looking forward to spend some quality time with my daughter. And that the way she treated us, I felt like she’s ruined our day.
The girl listened patiently to me and she was very reasonable. She nodded and said she understands why I was upset about her behaviour. She even apologised to us. I accepted her apology. I also told her that I’m sorry that she lost a close family member and that it’s okay to feel sad. But sometimes, we might want to think twice about how we act on our emotions. Because when we send out negative energy to other people, they will receive it and react on it too. And most of the time, that’s how misunderstandings happen. She nodded.
This incident reminded me of two important things in life; 1. assumptions are not always true and 2. always connect with people.
I saw a young girl acting grumpy and just assumed she didn’t want to work and early shift. I was wrong. My assumption was very wrong. I’m glad that I had a chance to talk to the girl. Maybe, connecting with her through the manager wasn’t the best move, I should’ve talked to her personally. But it still gave us the opportunity to explain ourselves. The best thing was, even though the start was a bit impetuous, at the end we’ve talked calmly and listened patiently to each other and cleared things out. Everything was fine after all. The manager even gave us free drinks and popcorn! So, my daughter, the teenager, who’s learned a lesson of life, was happy too!
I strongly believe if we all could just keep in mind that we must not always assume our assumptions are true and if we would ry to kindly connect with people we could all make this world a better place!